No crime is as horrific, as mesmerizingly perplexing, as a child's murder at the hands of a parent. In most cases, the perpetrator is the father. A veteran journalist explores five examples of "family annihilators" in this troubling snapshot of American crime twisted by the dark trajectory of machismo in economically stressful times. Her research includes some fifty in-depth interviews of victims' friends and family, an examination of police files, and detailed profiles of the researchers who track these "killer dads."
She also presents experts' theories on the causes that drive men to commit these heinous acts--ranging from economic pressures, the stress of perceived failure, and distorted egos, to the disturbing statistics on abuse of adopted children by step-fathers and the connection between murder and pregnancy.
Finally, she discusses factors in contemporary society that may foster such crimes, and measures we can and should be taking to prevent them.
Well-researched and often-shocking, "Killer Dads" provides disturbing insights into the dark forces that can turn family dynamics into the worst imaginable nightmare.
About the Author
MARY PAPENFUSS has worked in journalism for more than 20 years, including as an editor at the New York Post, New York Daily News, and San Francisco's Examiner. She was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in 2000. She lives with her husband and two children in Northern California.
"Informative, provocative, and challenging...this book is a must-read for those interested in criminal psychology and issues of domestic violence."
“The topic is crucial, the research exceptional, the conclusions intriguing, and the writing first-class. Killer Dads will haunt you long after you put it down.”
–MIKE PEARL, former police and courts reporter for the New York Post
“A moving and insightful look at a horrifying crime wave in which the weakest are victimized by those they love and trust. Not only does Papenfuss investigate critical cases, she puts them in a social context and makes sense of apparently senseless acts. Her writing is brilliant and clear, and the book is a real page-turner.”
–HANNAH BROWN, author of If I Could Tell You
“A chilling but important book that is distinguished by impeccable reporting and clear writing. Readers will especially appreciate the exploration of solutions to prevent any family’s worst nightmare.”
–GERALDINE BAUM, former New York Bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times
“Papenfuss stares down gut-wrenching crimes we too often turn away from to find compelling tales of love and loss, and the motivations that fuel our most inexplicable homicides.”
–MURRAY WEISS, columnist, DNAInfo.com New York, author of The Man Who Warned America